Philippe Myers

Flyers 'see this rise' with Philippe Myers, who can handle the pressure

Flyers 'see this rise' with Philippe Myers, who can handle the pressure

Philippe Myers is no longer a mystery that went untouched in the 2015 draft.

When people watch, they scratch their heads.

How did this kid go undrafted?

He came to the Flyers at 196 pounds. Many didn't know the pronunciation of his first name. He was just a training camp invite.

That has all changed. There are expectations now.

Except, deep down, he's no different.

"I'm the same person that was undrafted," Myers said last week at Flyers development camp. "I try to stay off the social media stuff, try to just focus on myself. It's not a good thing to get too wrapped up in all of that. Just trying to focus on myself and try to get better as a player and try to get stronger in the gym."

So when things didn't go his way to start the 2017-18 season, his first year pro with anticipation among the fan base, Myers didn't panic because he's been there before.

It's almost as if going undrafted paid off.

The 6-foot-5, 220-pound defenseman, a fluid skater and skilled for his size, turned it right back on after overcoming injuries and a somewhat slow start with the AHL affiliate Lehigh Valley Phantoms.

Following 14 games over the first two and a half months of the year, Myers appeared in 36 from Dec. 23 to the end of the regular season, putting up three goals, 11 assists and a plus-10 rating. He then punctuated it all with three goals and four assists over 13 postseason games.

"Before Christmas, it was a little disappointing with all the injuries and stuff, but I think I progressed pretty smoothly there after Christmas and in the playoffs," Myers said. "I'm pretty happy with the way that the season went. By all means, I'm not satisfied, but I'm pretty happy, in general, how it went."

Myers had general manager Ron Hextall's eye back in 2015 when the big blueliner went undrafted. He has the GM's attention even more so now, even in July.

"Phil, he just got better and better as the year went on. You saw him at the start of the year and he was a good player. Then as the year went along, you just see this rise. It's what you want," Hextall said. "You want your players to get better the entire year. To Phil’s credit, he did. 

"The playoffs were as good as he played all year. Toward the end of the season, he was a horse for us. He was a very good player. I don't want to say opened our eyes because we expected that from him, but he certainly put himself in a position this year for us to take a look at him."

With 2013 first-round pick Samuel Morin likely out until February recovering from a torn ACL, Myers is the next in line to join the Flyers' young foundation of defensemen, including Shayne Gostisbehere (25 years old), Ivan Provorov (21), Travis Sanheim (22) and Robert Hagg (23).

Is Myers ready?

"If he had played a whole year, maybe he would be close," Flyers development coach Kjell Samuelsson said last week. "But he was hurt a lot so I think he needs more time in the minors."

While it doesn't seem like there's a spot open yet, anyway, that can change throughout a long regular season. And possessing a coveted right-handed shot only helps Myers' call-up chances for his NHL debut in 2018-19.

"Try to push for a roster spot here in September," Myers said.

Right as the Flyers push their process into a new gear.

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5 observations from Flyers development camp

5 observations from Flyers development camp

VOORHEES, N.J. — When Flyers development camp shifts to joint competition between the forwards, defensemen and goalies, everything ramps up.

There's a lot more to watch and a greater feel for the prospects.

That was the case Saturday night at Flyers Skate Zone on Day 3 of the 2018 camp.

Let's get into five observations from the moments that stuck out:

1. Morgan Frost possesses limitless skill. He's a quick skater, incredible with his stick and doesn't need open space to do damage.

Frost, the Flyers' other 2017 first-round pick, has shown the ability to fend off bigger bodies and a strong forecheck. Plus, he's so elusive that sometimes it doesn't matter.

If Frost had Nolan Patrick's size (6-2/198), he'd be in the NHL. But Frost is gaining strength, which is a great sign. Last year, he was 172 pounds at development camp. This year, he looks more filled out and said he came to Voorhees at 184 (see story).

He's not lacking in many other areas. Could he surprise at training camp and flirt with a roster spot? We'll see; the odds look against him.

But when Saturday's session concluded, he gave fans in attendance a taste of his offensive repertoire by beating goalie Matej Tomek with a handful of moves. 

You can see why he scored 112 points in the OHL last season.

2. Philippe Myers reminds you of Travis Sanheim at 2017 development camp.

He stands out among the defensemen because he's further along.

At 21 years old, Myers is composed and comfortable along the boards and he moves the puck well. 

For a guy his size, he has some nice skill, too.

Myers is 6-foot-5 and his weight is now up to around 220 pounds. He'll have a good shot to make the Flyers at some point during the 2018-19 season as a call-up candidate if he can stay healthy and prove himself some more at the AHL level.

3. Joel Farabee, the 14th overall pick in last week's draft, has an impressive makeup.

For one, the two-way winger competes and has a maturity about him at 18 years old (see story).

But he also offers all the offensive tools. The USNTDP product has excellent awareness and instincts to go along with his well-regarded shot.

He'll be fun to follow next season at Boston University.

4. A quietly impressive defenseman? Wyatt Kalynuk, a 2017 seventh-round pick who is playing at Wisconsin.

He's sound and stays in front of forwards that are much quicker and smaller. On multiple occasions in 1-on-1 drills, he broke up plays with a poke check, not even allowing the forwards to move in deep or get off a shot.

Two of those occasions were against Farabee and another he defended well against 2016 first-round pick German Rubtsov.

5. If you attend development camp Sunday or Monday, keep an eye on No. 59.

That's defenseman Mark Friedman, who has a rugged, all-out, beat-you-up style. It seemed like he was knocking somebody over every other drill.

If you like the physical brand of hockey, the Phantoms' blueliner is the player to watch at this camp.

And speaking of Sunday here is the schedule and groupings.

Group 1: 9:15-10:30

(G) 67 Kirill Ustimenko
(G) 65 Ivan Fedotov
(G) 66 Samuel Ersson
(D) 61 Philippe Myers
(D) 86 Wyatte Wylie
(D) 72 David Drake
(D) 84 Linus Hogberg
(D) 74 Adam Ginning
(F) 46 Mikhail Vorobyev
(F) 58 Gavin Hain
(F) 62 Jay O'Brien
(F) 64 Maksim Sushko
(F) 70 Olle Lycksell
(F) 75 Pascal Laberge
(F) 78 Matthew Strome

Group 2: 10:45-12:00

(G) 49 Felix Sandstrom
(G) 79 Carter Hart
(G) 69 Matej Tomek
(D) 59 Mark Friedman
(D) 90 Jack St. Ivany
(D) 77 James De Haas
(D) 73 Wyatt Kalynuk
(D) 83 David Bernhardt
(F) 57 Marcus Westfalt
(F) 60 Joel Farabee
(F) 63 German Rubtsov
(F) 68 Morgan Frost
(F) 71 Noah Cates
(F) 71 Isaac Ratcliffe
(F) 81 Carsen Twarynski

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Flyers director of player development Kjell Samuelsson talks Morgan Frost, Philippe Myers, development camp

Flyers director of player development Kjell Samuelsson talks Morgan Frost, Philippe Myers, development camp

VOORHEES, N.J. — Morgan Frost had filled out his frame since the last time he was here.

Considerably too.

Frost stood by his stall Thursday after the first day of the Flyers' 2018 development camp not only one year older but also noticeably more mature physically. Since Sault Ste. Marie's season concluded one day before Frost turned 19 years old, the 2017 first-round pick had gained nine pounds. He finished the 2017-18 campaign at 175 pounds but came to Voorhees weighing 184.

One day on the beach with U.S. Navy SEALs and Frost has to head back to the cafeteria.

“I actually weighed myself today,” he said. “After training yesterday, I was about 181. Trying to get a good dinner in here.”

If there's one thing holding Frost back from receiving a legitimate opportunity to make the Flyers in training camp, it’s his size. He still needs to add strength. Even on the team’s development-camp roster, he’s listed at 172 pounds. His goal is to play above 180.

With that comes the point of development camp. Teaching prospects how to be professionals, the small details that get overlooked. Think of groceries and laundry, everyday tasks we don’t even think about. The camp is more than just boring hockey drills.

For a prospect like Frost, it’s about learning how to gain the right weight, sustaining it and playing with it. For others, it’s about learning patience and taming the lion inside.

“They can’t get fully developed physically in one summer,” Flyers director of player development Kjell Samuelsson said. “That’s impossible, but they believe that. They go after it and then realize when next season starts, it’s going to take a long time.”

Take Mark Friedman into account.

Friedman, a 2014 third-round pick, is now in his fifth development camp. One has to wonder how much more Friedman can take out of it, even after turning pro last season. But as Samuelsson was quick to note, development camp is a little different for college players.

Because of their amateur status, a college player can't sign an entry-level contract and still play NCAA hockey like a major junior player can. As a result, they can’t participate in training camp and preseason, which was one factor why a prospect like Friedman is here.

Samuelsson said the Flyers require college players to attend development for one year after turning pro.

“We have changed the camp a little bit too,” Samuelsson said. “There’s always new things he can pick up. I honestly think he can learn a lot still. You never stop learning in hockey. I think [Friedman] can learn a lot still and he has a lot to learn just to become a pro.”

Another development camp veteran is Philippe Myers, who the Flyers discovered as an undrafted free agent in 2015. Now in his third camp, Myers is one of the team’s top prospects.

Myers’ first pro season in Lehigh Valley can be split into two tales. The first, Myers suffered through injuries. The second, he started to look like the player that began stealing headlines.

As the Flyers enter this summer looking to add a defenseman, Myers is the team’s best internal option to push for a roster spot in training camp. He’s a right-handed shot who skates well and moves the puck.

But Samuelsson was reluctant to say Myers is NHL-ready.

“If he had played a whole year," Samuelsson said, "maybe he would be close. But he was hurt a lot, so I think he needs more time in the minors."

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